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Youth Only Hunting Weekend Full of Opportunity
AUSTIN, Texas — Passing the hunting tradition through the generations and providing opportunities for young hunters this fall are the goals of special youth-only seasons.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has set aside the weekend of Oct. 29-30 as special youth-only seasons for white-tailed deer, Rio Grande turkey and waterfowl in the North and South Duck Zones, to encourage adults to share the hunting experience with the next generation of hunters.
“We hope these opportunities will motivate folks to devote some time afield with youth and pass on Texas’ hunting heritage to the next generation,” said Mike Berger, PhD, director of wildlife with TPWD.
During the statewide special youth-only hunting weekend, licensed youth 16 years of age or younger will be allowed to harvest white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey.
General season bag limits for the county hunted apply during the youth-only weekend. For example:
In Bowie, Brazos, Camp, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Hopkins, Houston, Lamar, Madison, Morris, Red River, Robertson, Rusk, Titus, Upshur, and Wood counties, the bag and permit requirements are the same as for doe days on Nov. 24-27. For the remainder of the state, the bag and permit requirements are the same as for the first two days of the general season in the county. In a county where antlerless deer may be taken only by permit, a permit is required to take antlerless deer during the youth seasons.
Hunting for ducks, mergansers and coots during the youth-only waterfowl hunts will be limited to youngsters 15 years of age or younger. Normal bag limits and hunting restrictions apply, except that pintail and canvasback ducks may be taken during the youth-only waterfowl hunts. Certification under the Harvest Information Program is required of anyone, regardless of age, who hunts waterfowl or any other type of migratory game bird. No federal or state migratory bird hunting stamp is required for qualifying youth to hunt during the special youth-only waterfowl hunt days. However, during the regular waterfowl seasons, the $15 Federal Duck Stamp is mandatory for hunters 16 years of age or older and the $7 Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp is mandatory for hunters 17 or older.
TPWD has made an effort to open as much public hunting land as possible to youth hunts. Youth hunting on departmental public hunting lands must be accompanied by a supervising adult 18 years of age or older who possesses the required APH permit, a valid hunting license and any required stamps and permits.
Youth hunts for either sex white-tailed deer are scheduled during the special weekend season on 21 public hunting units covering nearly 325,000 acres, mostly in East Texas. Youth waterfowl hunts are available on 61 public hunting units.
In addition, TPWD is making available afternoon-only dove hunting on Mad Island WMA during Oct. 29-30. Youth 16 and under do not need a special permit, however, either an Annual Public Hunting Permit or a Regular Permit is required of all other hunters.
The Annual Public Hunting Permit is a $48 permit, valid from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31 of the following year. The permit allows an adult access to designated public hunting lands in the TPWD public hunting lands program. Hunting is allowed for small game, turkey, white-tailed deer, exotics, predators, furbearers, and fishing without having to pay daily permit fees and in most instances, without having to be selected in a drawing.
Along with the appropriate Texas hunting licenses and stamps, permit holders may take youth under age 17 hunting free of charge on these public hunting lands.
Permits are available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online through the TPWD Web site (tpwd.texas.gov) or by calling 1-800-TX-LIC-4U and paying by major credit card. There is a $5 convenience fee for online and phone purchases. If the permit is purchased at a TPWD office, the public hunting lands map booklet and supplement will be provided immediately at the time of purchase; otherwise, the publications will be mailed to the purchaser within two weeks of purchase.
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